As the Nationals prepare for their nationally televised series finale with the Atlanta Braves, a pair of Washington players stand on the verge of milestone marks. While we don’t actually have 20 questions to ask regarding tonight’s game, we do have two big questions, both revolving around the number 20, which may come into play.
Will Bryce Harper hit his 20th home run?
Harper has recovered from a mid-season swoon, and is batting .354 with a .432 on-base percentage, seven home runs, 16 runs scored and 13 RBI over his last 17 games heading into Sunday night. He has already homered once in this series, and has shown a flair for the dramatic when the Nationals play in front of a national television audience on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. He announced his presence to the baseball world by stealing home after being plunked by Cole Hamels in the first inning of the May 5 game. He then took Livan Hernandez deep to the right-center field bleachers to put the nail in the coffin of a 7-2 win right here in Atlanta back on May 27. Might his 20th home run come in this big, divisional matchup?
Will Gio Gonzalez win his 20th game?
Already the owner of the Nationals record for wins in a season, Gonzalez toes the rubber with the chance to be the first 20-game winner in Nats/Expos history since 1978. The lefty has pitched his best stretch of the season lately, winning six of his last seven starts and allowing just one earned run over 22.0 innings in his last three outings. The only 19-game winner in the big leagues, he would also be the first to 20 victories in the game this season.
If we know one thing about the 2012 Nationals, though, it is that they always keep us guessing. Will these be the compelling storylines at the end of the night, or will another face emerge as a hero?